You’ve made it to the holidays!
Like it, or not, this is the season to check your whole house and see if it will make it through the winter.
It, most likely, will. Will YOU make it, with your house?
The following is a small check list to see if you may need to schedule some maintenance or repairs for your own comfort.
Start with the obvious.
- Check the roof. If it is accessible, get on the roof and look for torn or broken shingles. Inspect the seals around all the pipes and chimney(s). Look for cracks or missing sealant. If you can get into the attic, look for ceiling areas that may be water stained from leaks. Remember, water can travel and may not leave a stain where it comes in.
Before you leave the roof, if you have gutters, inspect for piled leaves and loose connectors. A hose and a screwdriver may be all you need to clean out the channels and re-tighten the fasteners. Be sure you thoroughly rinse the downspouts, ensuring good flow. Inspect and replace any screens or baffles.
If this isn’t a job for you, call a licensed contractor/roofer and get an honest assessment of the condition of your roof.
- In the same manner, inspect the eaves and outside walls. Look for missing caulk and missing or broken seals; especially around the windows and vents. Unless the temperature is really cold, a caulking gun can reseal a window frame in a few minutes. Install storm windows or at least, a sheet of clear plastic over lesser used windows.
- When back on the ground, check the door seals, including the threshold. Have a friend shine a flashlight along the whole edge of the closed door. If you see light, you have an air leak. Most doors can be resealed with peel ‘n’ stick foam tape, without removing the door from the frame.
If the threshold is leaking, you’ll need to remove the door to get at the bottom. When replacing the door, spray a squirt of WD-40 or a couple drops of oil on the hinge pins.
Grab your Philips Screwdriver and tighten all the screws in the door and frame. If the screws just spin, squeeze some white glue into the holes and jam multiple toothpicks into the screw holes, breaking them off at the surface. Reset the screws and remount the door. Check the latches. Make sure they are actually latching!
- Once the house is secure and draft free, get a can of compressed air; the kind used to clean a computer. Take the cover off the thermostat and blow out all the dirt, dust and dead spiders.
If you haven’t already, replace the air filter for the heater. This is usually very inexpensive and takes very little time to replace. Get the right size! You may need a screwdriver to undo the cover.
If you can see into the heater ducts, shine a flashlight and determine if they will need cleaning. If there is a lot of dust, you may need a professional cleaner to take care of the heating system.
- If you haven’t used it in a while, you should have your fireplace/stove and chimney(s) inspected by a licensed Chimney Sweep before lighting up. A flue fire is not a pretty thing.
Check that the stove door seals aren’t hard or shrunken so they don’t seal. Replacing the door seals and inspecting/replacing the fire bricks is very important for an efficient wood stove.
Have a great holiday and stay warm and dry this winter!